New England Soccer Today

Providence’s Cinderella Season Ends

Photo credit: Gerry Broome/The Associated Press

Photo credit: Gerry Broome/The Associated Press

Providence College had its Cinderella season come to an end in heartbreaking fashion, falling 3-2 to UCLA in double overtime Friday night in the College Cup semifinals in Cary, N.C.

With just about five minutes remaining in the second period of overtime, a volley from Bruins defender Chase Gasper was deflected off the leg of Friars captain Brandon Adler and into the back of the net for an own goal. The goal sent UCLA to the College Cup final, where it will take on the University of Virginia this Sunday. The Cavaliers defeated University of Maryland Baltimore-County in the other semifinal matchup Friday afternoon.

The scoring was opened in the 43rd minute when Bruins forward Abu Danladi played a through ball to Larry Ndjock, whose initial shot was saved by Friars goalie Keasel Broome. Unfortunately for Providence, the rebound fell to Ndjock, who tapped it in to give UCLA the 1-0 lead.

Prior to this, Danladi had a chance of his own to find the back of the net after a turnover from midfielder Daniel Neustadter led to a breakaway, but Broome was able to make the save and keep the game scoreless.

Revolution Academy alum Fabio Machado had the best chance for the Friars in the first half, nutmegging a Bruins defender along the end line and sending the ball towards the goal, but Gasper cleared his cross over the net.

Just like its quarterfinals matchup versus Michigan State last week, Providence came back again, courtesy of a Mac Steeves goal in the 65th minute to knot the game at one. On the team’s first shot on goal of the night, Steeves found the back of the net on a header off a cross from defender Thomas Ballenthin. Ballenthin finished with both assists on the night.

The sophomore forward wasn’t done yet, giving Providence a 2-1 lead in the 74th minute after his volley deflected off UCLA defender Michael Amick and passed goalie Earl Edwards Jr.

Despite working hard to get the lead, the Friars could not hang on, with the Bruins tying it at two with nine minutes to go in regulation. It was Ndjack who struck again for his second goal of the game, heading in a cross from Danladi that was deflected into the air.

Statistically, Providence won the corner battle 7-3, while shots were even at 12.

Although they fell one game short of reaching the championship game, the Friars can hold their heads high after a record-setting season. Providence won 16 games this campaign, which was the most in school history. The squad also made it to their first College Cup in team history, as well as winning the Big East conference tournament.

Looking to next year, the Friars will have to replace the likes of Fabio Machado,Broome, Adler, and Ballenthin, while Steeves, Neustadter, and Dominik Machado will all be returning for coach Craig Stewart’s squad.

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